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California health agencies looking for innovative health care ideas

The California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have launched the second annual Let’s Get Healthy California Innovation Challenge. This contest encourages individuals and organizations across the state to share ideas and projects they are working on to find creative, innovative ways to improve health in California. Let’s Get Healthy California invites community, health, and human services advocates, health care and human services providers, community and faith-based organizations, non-profits, civic data enthusiasts and visionary practitioners to participate and share their solutions and ideas ...

Physicians encouraged to verify CHPI data by November 11

Earlier this month, approximately 13,000 physicians in California received their individual quality measurement scores for the second cycle of the California Healthcare Performance Initiative System (CHPI) quality rating program. Physicians can review and verify the accuracy of the data used to calculate their scores through the CHPI online portal through November 11, 2016. The program rates physicians using claims data from Medicare fee-for-service, Anthem Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California and United Healthcare. This claims data includes both commercial and self-funded health plan data from HMO, PPO, POS and Medicare ...

No cost online buprenorphine waiver courses available

Physicians must obtain a federal waiver if they wish to prescribe buprenorphine for treatment of opioid use disorder. Across the country, many people suffering from opioid use disorder are unable to access medication-assisted treatment for their condition due to a lack of nearby physicians with waivers to prescribe buprenorphine. California is no different. In 2013, there were only 1,460 waivered physicians actively prescribing buprenorphine in California, which amounts to approximately 3.9 physicians per 100,000 people, particularly impacting rural and underserved areas in the state. To help physicians obtain waivers, the American ...

CMA to tackle six major issues at annual meeting

The 145th Annual Session of the California Medical Association (CMA) House of Delegates (HOD) will tackle six major issues when it convenes October 15-16, 2016, at the Sacramento Convention Center. Beginning this year, the HOD will establish broad policy on current major issues that have been determined to be the most important issues affecting members, the association and the practice of medicine. Reports on these major issues are now available for download and comment through October 7. All members are welcome to submit comments online at www.cmanet.org/hod. MACRA: As the Medicare ...

CMA fights federal bill that would allow VA to preempt state telemedicine laws

The California Medical Association (CMA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) are fighting a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2017 that would preempt state telemedicine laws and dismantle accountability mechanisms needed to ensure patient protection. The NDAA is an annual piece of legislation that primarily authorizes the federal government to spend money for war operations and military base operations. The two houses of Congress passed their own versions of this annual legislation over the summer. The version passed by the U.S. Senate includes language ...

CDPH urges providers to adopt new TB screening recommendations

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) urges providers to adopt new tuberculosis (TB) screening recommendations, recently announced by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, calling for adults 18 years of age or older who are at increased risk of TB to be screened for the disease. CDPH has developed a California Risk Assessment Screening Tool to help providers quickly identify people at risk for developing the disease, as well as a fact sheet that offers suggested courses of treatment. Those considered to be at increased risk of TB ...

Physicians must post nondiscrimination statements by Oct. 19

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) recently finalized new nondiscrimination rules intended to advance health equity and reduce health care disparities. Under the rule, which implements section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, individuals are protected from discrimination in health care on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability and sex, including discrimination based on pregnancy, gender identity and sex stereotyping. This new rule is the first federal civil rights law to broadly prohibit discrimination on the basis of ...

UC Davis and CDPH conduct survey of physicians on CURES

The opioid overdose epidemic in California has brought with it heightened interest in California’s Controlled Substance Utilization Review and Evaluation System (CURES). Now, a new effort to understand CURES usage and controlled substance prescribing in California has begun under two multi-year grants to improve CURES and prevent prescription drug overdoses. As part of the grant project, the University of California, Davis, and the California Department of Public Health – in collaboration with the Medical Board of California – are conducting a physician survey to provide insight and information regarding the ...

CMS eliminates penalties for first year of MACRA and offers "pick your pace" options

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on September 8 that it will allow physicians to choose the level and pace at which they comply with the new MACRA Medicare payment reforms. Participating at any level in 2017 will ensure that you will not be hit with payment penalties in 2019. The welcome announcement comes after the California Medical Association (CMA), American Medical Association (AMA) and other physician stakeholders urged CMS to ease the burdens and delay the first MACRA reporting period to give physicians more time to ...

CMA urges CMS to recalculate practice expense data to reflect California's higher practice costs

As required by law, at least every three years the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) adjusts payments under the Medicare physician fee schedule to reflect local differences in practice costs. In the proposed 2017 Medicare physician fee schedule, CMS made nationwide updates to the geographic practice cost indices (GPCI) based on new wage, rent and malpractice expense data. Unfortunately, according to CMS, the malpractice and practice expense GPCIs went down in nearly every region of California, which would result in a 0.48 percent GPCI payment reduction in all ...